My Current TBR List!

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d share my TBR list! Can I even call myself a bookworm if I didn’t have a TBR list as long as my arm? It will take me so long to get through all these books since I have to focus on uni, but I thought it would be fun to share it nonetheless!

The Good Girls by Sara Sheperd

This is the sequel to The Perfectionists, which I read this summer. I did really enjoy the book, but it didn’t feel finished properly. I’m excited to read this to see what happens.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

This is the final book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which is a series that has captured my heart. Each of the books is a modern adaptation on a classic gothic fiction text. The first is based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the second is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This one is based on Frankenstein and I have high hopes for it. I studied Frankenstein in first year, and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this adaptation just as much!

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’ve seen so much hype about this on social media, and I’ve finally bought the Kindle version! I’m sure you all know the plot, so I won’t bore you with that! I’m hoping it lives up to the hype though.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Strout is a major inspiration for my own writing. I’ve mentioned before that I love the way she describes things. I don’t know what this book is about, but I’m sure that I will love it.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

I mentioned in my summer wrap up that I wasn’t the biggest fan of How To Stop Time. I do really want to read this book, but I’m unsure if I’ll manage to get around to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to read some more of his work in the near future.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was in my Summer list and I still haven’t had a chance to read it! It looks awesome though, and the plot seems to be driven by girl power, which I love.

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

This is the autobiography of the American gymnast Simone Biles. I can’t believe I didn’t read this in summer! I asked for it as a Christmas present and it’s been on my shelf ever since. Whoops!

Fierce by Aly Raisman

Again, another autobiography by a gymnast, but this time it’s Aly Raisman. Honestly, I can’t wait to buy this. I’m looking forward to growing my collection of gymnastics related books: it will be my third autobiography!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is a re read, so I’m not sure it technically counts! This is another book that’s very popular in the blogging community. It didn’t leave a big impression on me, so I want to read it again to see if my feelings have changed.

Freshers by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen

Again, another re read. This may have a spoiler so be warned! At the end of the book, we find out that one of the main characters is really horrible, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. I want to re read it to see if I missed something major, or if this character really isn’t as bad as they are made out to be. I may end up doing a full review on it.

I don’t know when I’ll update you all on what I actually read because I never seem to have the time! If you have any book recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments!

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What I Read In Summer 2018!

So I suppose summer is officially over. Although I can’t wait for the Autumn trends, I’m still sad that the sunshine is gone. I definitely fell back in love with reading this summer, and over the whole summer I read eight books. Here’s what I read!

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Although I did find it hard to get into this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book has so many little details, which I love. The character of Lucy is so realistic and you can really tell the author has put so much thought into her. The book relies on the details and the plot isn’t driven by exciting events, which could have been why I struggled getting into it. I will definitely be reading more of her work!

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

I was excited to read this book as I love The Art of Being Normal. Unfortunately I was let down. I did feel some sympathy for Mia although at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. I also guessed the ending, which rarely happens! If you like books by Chris Higgins and Cathy Cassidy you may like this, however, it isn’t for me.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

This book is an adaptation on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which I haven’t read. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, which is so sad. At first, I was so worried Montgomery wasn’t going to be in it, but he did show up eventually. If you haven’t guessed, I’m firmly team Montgomery! I did enjoy that the book had more emphasis on strong female characters, and it seems that it will lead nicely onto the next one. I am very excited for the final book!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen.

I really liked this book. It was easy to read, and I loved how the bond between man and cat was portrayed. I’ve seen snippets of the film and I’d love to watch it all, although it seems quite different to the book. I’m not sure if I’d read any more books by the same author, but I’d definitely recommend this one to a friend! It’s a heartwarming tale.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

Wow. I loved this book! It follows the lives of a group of mothers whose children attend the same kindergarten. At the end of the book, there is a murder. There are little police interviews at the end of each chapter, which hooked me. Although it sounds boring, it is incredibly cleverly written. The book is narrated through three mother’s points of view. Each mother is battling something in their personal lives and I loved the way this tied into the main plot line. I really haven’t sold it well, but if you read one book from this post, make it this one!

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard.

I’m very torn on this book. I’d written in my notes that I wouldn’t go rushing back, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. At some points it was predictable but it was still a good story. The ending is weird though, and it didn’t feel like the book was finished. It was written by the same author of Pretty Little Liars, so I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of that. I’m keen to read the sequel though!

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. I really liked the concept but I found it hard to get into. After about two thirds of the way in, I did start to like it, but it didn’t really hook me. I will read more from the author though.

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims.

This is definitely not suited to younger readers! At first, I found this book absolutely hilarious. At some points I was laughing out loud! The speaker is basically a grown up version of Georgia Nicholson, who I loved when I was younger. I did start to tire of her really quickly though. I really didn’t like the way she acted towards Charlie, and in places it’s completely unrealistic. I also found it a bit overly descriptive in places. The book would sometimes start a point, then launch into an anecdote, then go back to the original point. This is clearly to make it sound more like a diary but I found it hard to follow. I’d recommend this to older readers who are looking for a laugh.

I know I didn’t get through my whole list, but I was really happy to have the opportunity to read all these books. I think I’ll do a post on my updated TBR list, although I know there’s no way I’ll manage them all! I definitely want to post more book-related content on my blog, so look out for that in the future!

The Sims Book Tag

It’s another book tag! I really enjoy doing these, and when I saw this one I knew I had to do it! It’s another one inspired by a game. This time, it’s the Sims!

I love Sims. My first Sims game was for Gameboy Advance, and since then, I’ve been hooked! I’ve played Urbz, Sims for DS, Sims 2 for PSP, Sims Medieval, Sims FreePlay, Sims 2 for PC and Sims 4. I was obsessed!

This tag was created by Hailey in Bookland, but I got the idea from Sunsets and Bookfests. The graphic at the start of this post is from this blog.

I’ve tried to use different books from my Animal Crossing Book Tag but some are the same because I couldn’t think of anything else to fit the category.

I haven’t tagged anyone in this, but if you want to do it, please do!

Onto the tag!

The original Sims- best author debut.

For this, I’ve decided to go with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This was the first novel I read as part of my degree, and I enjoyed it. I chose to go with this because of the massive influence it has on gothic fiction.

The Grim Reaper- saddest character death.

I think I’ve twisted the question a little bit with this one. The most upsetting scene I’ve encountered in a novel is the scene in The Help where Miss Celia has a miscarriage. I’m going to say this is the saddest character death. Other notable mentions would be Alaska in Looking for Alaska and Meg in I Was Here.

Sims getting stuck- a character that just got in the way. I’ve been racking my brains for a more creative answer, but this is the only one I can think of. Stupid Prendick. I swear, I’m never mentioning this book again. Moving swiftly on!

Simlish- a book with amazing writing.

This is new to me. It’s called Big Little Lies. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but it’s incredibly cleverly written!

Expansion packs- a series where the books kept on getting better.

So I really struggled with this one. Most series I could think of start and end strongly. I chose Tracy Beaker because she gets a happy ending, and I remember liking all the books when I was younger!

Sims romance- the worst case of insta love.

Obviously the whole plot of the book wouldn’t happen if Lana hadn’t fallen for Les. But this was a relationship I couldn’t get behind at all. Their relationship is built on lies, so they were doomed from the start

Cheats- a (contemporary) book that was entirely unrealistic.

Okay, so it’s a children’s book. Children’s books are meant to be unrealistic, I know. But I do not know how CHILDREN managed to smuggle a whole elephant out of a museum. Obviously The Madman’s Daughter, Soul Screamers and a couple of others from my last tag would fit this category, but I wanted to mix it up a bit!

Needs fulfilment- a character who made all the wrong decisions.

Sorry Marianne! I’m maybe being harsh, but she makes a lot of stupid decisions during the course of Sense and Sensibility. She does eventually make some correct ones, but she definitely wins this category for me.

Error code 12- a series that started off great but went downhill from there.

I haven’t actually gotten to the end of this trilogy, which probably says it all. I really enjoyed the first book, and the second book was also good, but I just couldn’t get into the last book!

The Sims Vortex- a book/series that completely engrossed you.

It has to be Soul Screamers! I was obsessed with these books! I think I’ve mentioned the series in every book-related post I’ve written but I just loved them for so long!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. I certainly enjoyed doing it! If there was a Super Mario book tag, I’d have covered all my childhood favourites! Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up in bed playing Sims!

Animal Crossing Book Tag!

I feel like I’ve flooded this blog with recipes so I do apologise if you’re not into those posts! I’ve currently been taking advantage of the big kitchen at home to try some new recipes. They’ll definitely be slowing down soon!

I haven’t written about books in a while because I’m saving them all to do an Autumn round up of what I read over the summer. This tag seemed like a good way to talk about my favourite books, which is never a bad thing!

This tag was started by Bookish Things and Tea. I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do it, I just thought it looked fun! All the graphics are from this blog. They were just too cute not to use!

I’ve narrowed it down to two, although there’s probably a lot more! For novels, I would love to read A Little Princess. I’d also like to read Romeo and Juliet.

Again, I have to narrow it down to two. I have a current one and one I loved when I was younger. The more current one is My Soul To Save, which is from the Soul Screamers series, written by Rachel Vincent. You know those books you just get so into? There’s screaming, crying and laughing with the characters? Yeah, that was definitely one of those books for me! I’d definitely recommend them! The other book is The Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence. I was OBSESSED with the Roman Mysteries when I was younger, and I remember this was one of my favourites from the series too. Considering I loved these so much, and I probably read them at about the same time I was playing Animal Crossing, it certainly deserves a shout out!

This one totally stumped me! After a lot of Googling, I’ve decided on The Fault in Our Stars. It’s set in Indianapolis and part of it takes place in Amsterdam, so I figure it fits the criteria! I really enjoyed this book, and I enjoyed a lot of John Green’s novels. So many people have read this so I won’t bore you by delving into the plot, but if you haven’t read it, it’s worth the read.

It has to be My Name is Eleanor Oliphant. I started reading this about the same time as my exams. This probably wasn’t the greatest choice, since the main characters had the same names as the characters in my set text! I really enjoyed this book, although the ending freaked me out a bit!

I haven’t outgrown most of my childhood books, as you can probably tell! The one I have to choose is The Diary of Anne Frank. I read this when I was in primary school and it’s stuck with me ever since. I reread it a few months ago actually. A bit of a strange choice, and it maybe doesn’t count since it’s non fiction but that’s the one that fits the category best.

The best book I’ve read as far as description and characters go is definitely Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I read this in creative writing and it has inspired so much of my writing. Strout’s style is simple and focuses on description, rather than being plot driven. This book is beautiful, and I really recommend it.

I don’t want to type its name! My iPad has just stopped suggesting that I type it and I really don’t want it to start! The book wasn’t bad as such, I was just working on it constantly for about a month and I am sick of it. It even gave me nightmares, which sounds totally ridiculous! It’s not really my genre, but it was easy to follow, and I have to give it credit for presenting a complex topic matter in an easy to read way. So, if you haven’t guessed already, it is of course The Island of Doctor Moreau!

Aw no, I’ve already put my two favourites further up! I do have another book in this genre I love-The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really love this book, although I definitely read it too young. The book is more descriptive than the film, which made it more upsetting for me, but it was still a good read. If you’re not into reading, I’d definitely recommend the film, but obviously the book is just as good too! I also loved Goodnight Mr Tom when I was younger, but I haven’t read it in years.

I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to do this tag, please do! Make sure you tag me, I would love to read your answers!

My Summer Bookshelf 2018

It’s officially summertime. The sun is out, the weather is muggy and I’ve finally ditched my winter coat (about 80% of the time anyway!). One thing I’m definitely looking forward to is having more time to read, and I have a long list of books to get through.

I am constantly buying new books and not reading them. Either I’m too busy, or I forget I have it, or I find a book that looks more exciting. I know, it’s awful. Anyway, this is basically a reading list, except we’re not calling it a reading list because that reminds me too much of uni. So, here’s what’s on my bookshelf this summer!

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. I read Olive Kitteridge this year in creative writing and I was really inspired by Strout’s writing style. I’ve started reading this, and so far I’m enjoying it, although it is very different to Olive Kitteridge.

The Power by Naomi Alderman. This was featured in one of Lucy Wood’s videos. It sounds like the type of thing I would enjoy, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance. I’m a huge gymnastics fan, and this has been on my list for a while. I can already tell that I’ll like this, since I love reading about gymnasts. It’s about the American gymnast Simone Biles. She’s amazing, and I can’t wait to read it!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This was recommended to me by my mum. I don’t know much about it, but she says it’s cleverly written so I’m hoping that I enjoy it. I trust her judgement!

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd (and also the final book in the trilogy A Cold Legacy). If you read my review of The Madman’s Daughter, you’ll know how much I loved that book. This is the second book of the trilogy, and I’ve already read the Kindle sample. I just started reading this today actually and I need to know what happens!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen. This was a Christmas present from my parents a few years ago. I’m sure they only bought it because there’s a cat on the cover! The blurb describes it as ‘moving and uplifting’ which sounds like it’s the opposite of what I usually read. Still, I’m excited to give it a go.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Again, another present that was gifted to me a few years ago. It’s a classic novel that I haven’t got around to reading yet. Hopefully there will be time this summer to read it.

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson. To be honest, this is the only book in this list I’m not really sure about. I bought it as it is written by the same author of The Art of Being Normal, which is a beautiful book that I really enjoyed. It doesn’t look like it will be the same, but I’ll still give it a go. I don’t think it will take me very long to read.

Of course, there is also my uni reading lists that I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a head start on before the term starts. I don’t know what they are yet, but once I know I will order them and get reading!

So, here’s been my summer bookshelf. I’ll probably diverge from this, and end up buying more books, and I’m not optimistic I’ll get through them all. However, I will update you in Autumn of how I did!

As always, any recommendations are much appreciated!

Book Review- ‘The Madman’s Daughter’

Hello again! I know this is going up quite late, but that’s practically my life story. I spent a while deciding whether or not to post this review, so I’m going to upload it before I overthink it, and change my mind. So, here’s my first book review. I hope you enjoy!

Confession- I don’t read very often. Of course, I read books for uni, but I rarely read for pleasure. I’ve recently discovered I can use the Kindle app on my iPad, which has all the books my mum has downloaded. I’ve been happily working my way through them, but this review is about the first one I purchased- The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd. I should probably warn you that this review is a bit of a novel itself, so be prepared!

The book is a modern adaptation of H.G Wells’s book The Island of Doctor Moreau. I’ve been studying this in English, and I stumbled across this on a list of adaptations. I decided to wait until after my exam to read it, which was definitely a wise decision. After reading reviews, I did not have high hopes. Most criticised the story as being slow in places, and having an overpowering love story. The ebook was only £2.99, so I decided to give it a shot.

Oh my goodness. From the moment I picked it up, I could not stop thinking about it. I’m writing this post a week later, and it’s still playing on my mind.

The book is told through the perspective of sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau, the daughter of Henri Moreau. Moreau has been experimenting with vivisection, and has been banished from English society. After he leaves, Juliet’s mother passes away and Juliet is forced to work as a maid at a medical school. She discovers a page of her father’s work, and tracks it to an inn. Inside she finds her former servant Montgomery. He is accompanied by a strange man called Balzather. Montgomery tells her that her father is alive, and he is continuing his work on an island near Australia. Montgomery plans to travel back to him soon. This information overwhelms Juliet and she runs back to the medical school. After an incident with the Dean of the school, Juliet convinces Montgomery to take her to the island. On their travels, a castaway named Edward Prince joins them. Together they travel to the island, where they meet the peculiar residents and uncover Moreau’s dark secrets

Although I thought the novel would be a lighthearted tale, I was wrong. The love story does distract a little bit from the heavy theme of vivisection, however the book is still graphic and contains uncomfortable scenes that will make readers squirm. At the start, there is a particularly graphic scene with a rabbit, where Juliet cuts its head off. ‘Common Sense Media’ recommends it for ages fourteen and up, which I would agree with.

My favourite thing about this novel was that it was narrated by a female character. Girl power is definitely an important aspect to me! In the original novel, there is a lack of female characters, so to see a strong female that can handle herself is refreshing. I also thought that the narrator in Wells’s text was irritating, as I found him pretentious and idiotic. Juliet does make stupid decisions in Shepherd’s novel, but I still prefer her to Prendick.

The character of Montgomery also differs from the one Wells creates. We see more of his emotions in Shepherd’s, but the main difference is he is not an alcoholic. I would have liked to see more of a reliance on alcohol woven into the tale more, but this is simply personal opinion. The character of Moreau is also similar, but in Shepherd’s story he is more of a villain. His cold, calculating manner is clear in both texts.

Edward is also new to Shepard’s tale. He has some characteristics of Prendick, but a different backstory. For me, his backstory let the plot down a little. It was too close to a certain vampire novel that will remain unnamed. I understand that the purpose of it was to show the different possibilities of vivisection, but I would have preferred if his story was different. In saying this, I thought the way Shepherd uses Shakespearean names was a clever touch.

There are obvious cliches in the book. As a creative writing student, I know the difficulties of avoiding cliches, yet some of the ones in this book were a little too much for me. By far, the worst one was Juliet literally fanning her face when she witnesses Edward bathing.

I have many unanswered questions about this book, namely the ending which I’m clearly still not over. At the time it made me scream, and I’d like to apologise to any neighbours that may have thought I was being tortured! I won’t mention them here as my main question contains a massive spoiler.

This book is the first of a trilogy, and all of the books are based around classic gothic fictions. The next book is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the third is Frankenstein. Although I haven’t read the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, I’m definitely excited to read the next one!

Overall, I’d recommend this book. It is a more modern tale of Wells’s famous text and it is definitely a good way to switch off for a little while. It is not the most challenging story, so if you’re looking for something to surprise you, this may not be the book for you. There are twists but they are easy to guess, although I didn’t see the ending coming at all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, and I’m sorry it’s been so long! If you’ve read this book I would absolutely LOVE to have a chat with you about it. Also, any other book recommendations will be appreciated, I’m always looking for new stuff to read!